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Thread: Gandolfi Variant Question

  1. #1
    Photo Dilettante Donald Brewster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Malibu, CA

    Gandolfi Variant Question

    Has anyone handled/used the Gandolfi Variant 4x5 made of the composite material? Any appreciable performance/weight difference vs. the walnut?

  2. #2

    Gandolfi Variant Question

    I haven't used one but I did look at the specs when looking for a new camera and depending on what level you want it can weigh up to 8 1/2 lbs!!! Seems pretty heavy!! The weights on Badger(for walnut)lists the same as on the GANDOLFI site. In case you don't have it, it's

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    San Clemente, California

    Gandolfi Variant Question

    That "composite" is MDF (medium density fiberboard), not too unlike the sawdust-and-glue particle board that cabinets and shelving are made from these days. It's been about a year since I contacted Gandolfi directly to research the camera, and I haven't looked at Badger's listing for it since, but at the time Jeff's specs were incorrect, showing the MDF weight for a walnut camera. The walnut version is actually around one pound lighter. Gandolfi also said that there is no functional difference between the two.

  4. #4

    Gandolfi Variant Question

    Fiberboard? really? better not bump that thing on a rock.

  5. #5

    Gandolfi Variant Question

    To those who scoff at the material(MDF), I have had mine for about 6 years and in very rugged conditions. Not a ding on it. It is heavy but then movements are considerable. And it is a workhorse and the movements are very intuitive. I have seen about every feild camera out there and the Gandolfi stacks up as well as any of the others. There are prettier cameras and there are lighter cameras but the Gandolfi will give you easy operation with reliable results and it is sturdy as hell. James

  6. #6

    Gandolfi Variant Question

    Bigmac, Didn't really mean to scoff. It was just that the fiberboard that I'm used to seeing is on furniture and it chips very easy and swells up when wet. I assume that the material on a camera the level of a Gandilfi must be much different.

  7. #7

    Gandolfi Variant Question

    It is a very very dense marine grade material. I have dropped the camera on granite rock and it has landed on it's edge and it did not break nor spall. I used to make furniture so I know what the difference is between particle board(what you are thinking of) and MDF. I have had it out in the rain at Yosemite, Zion, Page, Colorado, and at the beach where I live and it has been wet. Very wet. No swelling and no seizing of parts due to moisture. So scoff if you will but this camera can take a beating and still perform with out a hitch. I wouldn't put a Toyo AII or a Linhoff through what I have put this camera through. The only drawback with it is , at my age I would like a lighter camera. It is heavy. 9.2 pounds with the lens.

  8. #8

    Gandolfi Variant Question

    hi, Donald I have a Gandolfi Variant III, It's a great camera, although it's my first one. The drawback is the weight, anyway, the part of the camera itself in the backpack is not so important, compared with the other stuffs, tripods and all what we need aside. The composite material is not a problem IMHO since it's a great craftmanship camera. I, hope this will helps you, Regards.

  9. #9

    Gandolfi Variant Question

    Well, for what is worth I have a Gandolfi Variant LII in mahogany in the 8x10 size and it is not much heavier than my Linhof TK45. As to the reliability it is a great camera but as opposed to the opinion above no wood or MDF camera will be as rugged as a linhof metal camera. OTH Gandolfi is very good at responding and taking care of you, so if you are planning on buying one I would recommend it without hesitation if I am to go by the way my 8x10 has served me.

  10. #10
    tim atherton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1998

    Gandolfi Variant Question

    I'd love to hear more about how you are finding the Variant 8x10. It was the camera I was most interested in, but they didn't have one on hand when I visited Ed Hill at the workshop last fall...!

    How about a quick review?

    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn blog

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